North American Scholar

SILK, Edmund Taite

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1901-08-16
  • Born City: West Haven
  • Born State/Country: CT
  • Parents: Edmund James & Jessie Hill Taite S.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1981-04-12
  • Death City: New Haven
  • Death State/Country: CT
  • Married: Eleanor Francis Smith, 21 Oct. 1944.
  • Education:

    A.B. Yale, 1924; A.M. 1927; Ph.D., 1930; fell. AAR, 1929-31.

  • Professional Experience:

    Asst. instr. to asst. prof, class. Yale, 1926-40; asso. prof, to prof. Lat., 1940-9; Dunham prof. Lat. lang. & lit., 1949-70; curator class. & med. MSS, Yale Library, 1944-59, later adviser; actng. chair class, dept., 1965-6; scholar-in-res. AAR, 1955-6; pres. CANE, 1967-8; De Vane medal (Yale), 1972.

  • Dissertation:

    "Cambridge Manuscript II 3.21 and the Relation of Chaucer's 'Boethius' to Trivet and Jean de Meung" (Yale, 1930).

  • Publications:

    Saeculi Noni Auctoris in Boethii Consolationem Philosophiae Commentarius, Papers & Monographs of the AAR IX (Rome, 1935); "Boethius's Consolatio Philosophiae as a Sequel to Augustine's Dialogues and Soliloquia," HThR 32 (1939) 19-39; "Notes on Two Neglected Manuscripts of Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae;” TAPA 70 (1939) 352-6; "The Yale 'Girdle-Book* of Boethius," Yale University Library Gazette 17 (1942) 1-5; "The Wagstaff Collection of Classical and Mediaeval Manuscripts," ibid. 19 (1944) 1-9; "Notes on Cicero and the Odes of Horace," YCS 13 (1952) 145-58; "A Fresh Approach to Horace, II, 20," AJP 77 (1956) 255-63; "Pseudo-Johannes Scottus, Adalbald of Utrecht and the Early Commentaries on Boethius," MRS 3 (1954) 1-40; "The God and the Searchers for Happiness: Notes on Horace's Repetition and Variation of a Favorite Topos," YCS 19 (1966) 233-50; "Bacchus and the Horatian Recusatio," YCS 21 (1969) 195-212; "Towards a Fresh Interpretation of Horace, Carm. Ill, 1," YCS 23 (1973) 131-45; "Was Pseudo-Johannes Scotus or Remigius of Auxerre a Plagiarist?," in Saints, Scholars, and Heroes: Studies in Medieval Culture in Honor of Charles W. Jones, ed. Margot H. King & Wesley M. Stevens (Collegeville, MN, 1979) 2:127-40.

  • Notes:

    Edmund Silk was born and lived his life in close proximity to the Yale from which he received his degrees and to which he gave long service out of devotion to its best traditions of learning and its connections to the universities of the Middle Ages. He came to classics from an interest in English literature, being widely read and comparative-minded; his special loves were Horace and the Archpoet. In his research he was most closely associated with the medieval bridge between antiquity and the modern world, especially the medieval tradition of Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae (at his death he left in typescript an edition of Nicholas Trevet's commentary on that author). A teacher especially of Late Latin, palaeography, and mediaeval Latin, he felt strongly that medievalists should come from classics. He remained physically active despite a long struggle with physical infirmities, especially his poor eyesight. Very much the Christian gentleman and scholar, he brought a rather Horatian humanity and humor to his personal relationships, and his respect for persons of integrity and character inspired in turn a warm regard for him and a desire to emulate his love for humane studies.

  • Sources:

    WhWh 1974-5: 2830.

  • Author: Robert W. Ulery, Jr.